Anthony Housefather’s record on Israel

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Anthony is an extraordinary advocate for his constituency and is outspoken in his staunch support for Israel. In this excellent letter he sets the record straight for those who believe that he and the liberal government have wavered in showing Canada’s steadfast support for Israel. Of course, one can easily point to a single incident, event or vote and criticize. But life, and politics, is far from that simple.

I wholeheartedly continue to support Anthony Housefather as an extraordinary, young leader who is sure to rise among the ranks. He is the right man to push our government when necessary, whether on Israel or on a number of other major issues.

His intelligence shines through in his speeches and writings. If you have not met him I strongly encourage you to do so at one of the many events he addresses or in connecting by email or social media.

 

Anthony Housefather, MP, in the Hall of Honour, in the Parliament of Canada

My record on Israel

Anthony Housefather

I need to respond to the letter from Nathan Rosensheim published in the Suburban on July 4th, claiming the Canadian Government did not support Israel and that I was not a forceful advocate for Israel within the Government.

To say these claims are false would be a huge understatement. I have always been and will continue to be a huge supporter of Israel and since I was first elected I have been one of the foremost advocates on behalf of support for Israel and action on causes important to my constituents and Canada’s Jewish community. Let’s look at the overall record since October 2015.

Since the Liberal Government was elected in October 2015, Canada has one of the best voting records at the UN on defending Israel. We have voted no on 54 of the 62 resolutions at the General Assembly which singled out Israel over this time. No country other than the US and some small islands have a record similar to ours. Our record on voting against resolutions on Israel is far better than Australia and the UK and other European countries. It is also better in percentage terms of no votes than any previous Canadian Government, including the ten years of the Harper administration.

Our Government also supported the first anti-BDS motion to be adopted by the House of Commons. We adopted a Bill recognizing May as Jewish Heritage Month. We just signed an enhanced Canada/US free trade agreement at the Gelber Centre in the Mount Royal riding. We doubled security infrastructure funding to help secure Jewish and other institutions that are subject to potential hate crimes. As well, the Prime Minister committed to apologizing in the House of Commons for our record on Jewish refugees prior to and during the Second World War and in particular for Canada’s shameful refusal of the SS St. Louis in 1939. No other Canadian Government has ever done this and it is something I have been calling for since I have been elected.

Finally, in June the Government supported a motion in the House of Commons condemning the current regime in Iran, including for the statements made by its Supreme Leader calling for the eradication of Israel. In case anyone questions my support for Israel and my readiness to speak out in support of Israel in the House of Commons, I suggest you watch my speech on the Iran motion at https://www.facebook.com/anthonyhousefather/videos/1982973521743727/

I spend a significant percentage of my time advocating for issues of interest to the Jewish community. There have been a small number of times I have been disappointed, such as with the recent statement on Gaza and in that case my colleague Michael Levitt and I released our own statement. But I have worked very hard within the Government to ensure our position on Jewish and Israeli issues is as strong as possible and most of the time I have succeeded. I truly believe if you look at the facts above the number of actions we have taken in support of Israel and issues related to Canada’s Jewish community over the last 2.5 years is equal to or better than any other Canadian Government in history and I am happy to defend my actions to my constituents anytime.

Anthony Housefather

MP for Mount Royal

More speed bumps? Not so fast

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 An interesting, thought-provoking letter by West-Ender Norm Sabin.

Montreal seems to have gone on a speed-bump blitz, with Walkley and Coronation Aves. being recent recipients.

Here’s what we know about speed bumps on residential streets: They slow emergency vehicles, can distract drivers from the road ahead, might increase emissions and are not free.

Given all the bad stuff, what are the benefits? Has there been a decrease in the number of accidents on residential streets? We need to make sure the pros outweigh the cons; otherwise, speed bumps create merely the illusion of safety, with real cost.

We need to fix our roads, not invest in big asphalt placebos.

Let the police deal with speeding. They know where the real danger is, and the tickets they issue protect the entire neighbourhood. They might even use photo radar here and there.

Speeding needs to be controlled, but cities need to do a careful risk-benefit analysis, street by street, before giving them the green light.

Norman Sabin, N.D.G.

Letters: How about protecting English in Quebec, as well?

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Letters, Montreal Gazette, April 22, 2014

Re: “Large retailers should add French to signage” (Editorial, April 19)

Are you kidding? Just when the Quebec Superior Court says leave things as they are, The Gazette seems to want to take a big step backward and instigate the language issues once again.

Who complained? The newly formed government has more important things to do now than revisit the signage issues. The OQLF’s time should be up! The millions saved could be spent so much better on health, education, infrastructure, etc.

Businesses need to flourish, and in the language of the consumer. The fact is, English has been so diminished that many retailers have zero English signage outside or inside their stores, fail to print circulars or sales receipts bilingually. Shame on all those corporations for disrespecting my bilingual dollar and for disrespecting me as a customer.

I must add, Toys R Us saw fit to give back respect to its customers by putting back English signage as permitted under the provisions of the Charter of the French Language. The French language is protected in Quebec; isn’t it about time that the English language be protected as well?

I am quite surprised and disappointed that The Gazette, Montreal’s only English-language daily newspaper, is not more vigorous in supporting the anglophone community!

Ruth Kovac

Councillor

City of Côte-Saint-Luc

Letter: The Gazette should be advocating the dissolution of the OQLF

 

Re: “Large retailers should add French to signage” (Editorial, April 19)

Shame on The Gazette, Montreal’s only English-language daily newspaper, for once again letting us, the anglophone community down and for not showing us the respect we truly deserve. How disrespectful can you be by mentioning that large retailers should add French to signage? Instead of applauding the Superior Court judgment rendered by the Honourable Mr. Justice Michel Yergeau for applying the provisions of the Charter of the French Language (Bill 101) and congratulating such retail chains as Best Buy, Costco Wholesale, Old Navy and others who stood up for what is right and not caving in to the useless, harassing and bullying tactics of the Office québécois de la langue française, you went out of your way to agree with what the OQLF was attempting to achieve. I guess I should not be surprised if your next moves were to encourage the OQLF to seek appeal of the Superior Court judgment and to lobby the Liberal government to amend the provisions of Bill 101.

As Montreal’s only English-language daily newspaper, it would have been a step in the right direction to not only come out and encourage all retailers in Quebec, especially those in the Montreal, Laval and South Shore areas where there are a good number of anglophones, to post signs in both French and English as allowed by Bill 101, but also to encourage the Quebec Liberal government to dissolve the OQLF and use the millions of dollars saved on such useful projects as health care, infrastructure and the economy. Remember, English has not been banned under Bill 101 and English is not a disease, it happens to be one of the two official languages of Canada.

Harold Staviss

Representative of the Office Québecois de la Langue Anglaise (OQLA)

Hampstead

Another happy resident

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It’s always nice to receive feedback. And in Cote Saint-Luc we’re pretty used to hearing from our constituents, good or bad. But it’s real nice when we hear positive comments describing how things worked out even better than expected. Our city prides itself in being customer service oriented and staff are trained to work with this goal in mind. This has been a priority set down by our mayor, Anthony Housefather, and adopted across all departments.

Here’s a letter we received this week. I’ve kept the name of the resident anonymous since I didn’t ask for permission to publicize.

In an era of controversy in municipal politics, I just wanted to provide some positive feedback to you and your teams, as the last 24 hours on Leger Avenue have been a little unusual.

Water works subcontractors work quickly to repair a leak in Cote Saint-Luc earlier this month

Water works subcontractors work quickly to repair a leak in Cote Saint-Luc earlier this month

As you may know, we experienced a water main break overnight between Wednesday and Thursday. As someone who deals with municipalities on an on-going basis in my work, I am very impressed with the communication and repair processes in place in CSL (for example: to wake up and already find the notices in our mailbox before 7 am, to be able to call public works and get updated, to the fact that the repair work was completed within 12 hours and then to see this morning that even paving was completed).

Please let your team members know that we appreciate the coordination and planning effort it takes to get this done so quickly. It makes me proud to live in CSL !

I know that it doesn’t always go quite as smooth as this, but you’d be surprised how often it does. I appreciate this feedback and I encourage you to drop a note if you have something to say as well. YOu can always find me here on this blog or on my Facebook page or on Twitter.

The city has taken the unusual step of sending a postcard last week to every home asking residents to follow us on a number of social media sites. This will enable better and quicker communications between your city and its residents. Please subscribe via the site of your choice.

CSL_follow_socail_media.jpg

Letter: Stop asking whether Montreal is a ‘French city’?

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Letter to the editor

Montreal Gazette, August 2,2013

Is Montreal a French city? This is not the right question.

The media should stop asking Montreal mayoral candidates “Is Montreal a French city?” The question is imprecise and allows the candidates to skate around the issue. Their pat answer is some formulation of: “Montreal is a French city. But bilingualism is a great asset to Montreal.”

What’s wrong with the question?

First, Montreal is not a “French city.” It is a Quebec city (or a Canadian city, or a North American city). France abandoned its former colony long ago. Yes, I’m being pedantic, but my goal is a clear question.

A more precise question would be “Is Montreal a French-speaking city.” But even this could be interpreted as a question related to census data.

What reporters really want to know is the candidate’s position on municipal services. The question they should be asking is: “Ought the municipal government of Montreal provide bilingual services to residents, without them having to ask for it.”

The question, asked in this way, leaves no room for misinterpretation. It’s not about identity or demographics, but about public policy, which is the business of elected leaders.

This is the question the media should be asking the Montreal mayoral candidates.

And voters should pay close attention to their answers.

Darryl Levine

Dollard-des-Ormeaux

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

 

In my opinion:

Darryl Levine makes an excellent point. The fact is Montreal is not a French city having shed its colonial past hundreds of years ago. Another fact is that census figures show that Montreal is a very bilingual, indeed multilingual city – far from being uniquely a French-speaking city.

However, should residents of this multilingual city be entitled to receive services in one of two official languages? The answer is perfectly clear to anyone unshackled by Quebec political doublespeak.

Letter: Keep Meadowbrook for recreation

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Re: ‘Beautiful future’ proposed for site of golf course” (Gazette, April 24)

Meadowbrook is an 18-hole golf course completed after the Second World War. It was originally a private course for CP employees, but in 1970 was made a public course for all to enjoy. The front nine is in Lachine, the back nine in Côte St-Luc. The land is currently owned by Groupe Pacific and their intention is to turn it into a $150 million real estate bonanza.

Fortunately, the demand is not there because of market forces, the economy and geography. Côte St-Luc took has long realized Meadowbrook is a precious green space and has zoned it as a golf course. Bravo! Lachine is guided by the all-mighty dollar and has not closed the door to real estate. Shame! The Meadowbrook Golf Club leases the land on a seasonal basis and runs the course from spring to fall.

Most Montrealers agree Meadowbrook is a jewel that must be preserved. Building houses and condos is about the last thing that should be done, nor is there a need. For a landowner to even contemplate this option is an affront to our fragile ecology, and a disservice to future generations.

A recent article in the Gazette described plans to turn the golf course into a nature park. This would of course be paid for by governments whose debts are in the billions, and whose infrastructure is literally crumbling. The island of Montreal has many nature parks. Mount Royal, Cap St. Jacques, Angrignon, Lafontaine and the Botanical Gardens are some of the larger ones, with many smaller parks in every borough and suburb. As well, off-island there are many more beautiful parks only a short drive away. Do we really need another one at Meadowbrook, and is it worth spending millions of taxpayer dollars to build?

What’s wrong with keeping Meadowbrook as a golf course? The number of golf courses on the island has been decreasing steadily over the past 30 years, with only a handful left. Of recent, Dorval has been cut in half and the Challenger has disappeared. Per capita, Montreal probably has the lowest number of public golf courses of any large Canadian city. This is nothing to brag about for a city that prides itself on sport and recreation, nor for a population whose obesity rate is 25 per cent (BMI over 29) and diabetes rate 8 per cent, and both climbing. Golf courses are good for body and soul, and the environment.

As a golf course, Meadowbrook has seen better days. The course needs improvement and the clubhouse is barely hanging on. The Meadowbrook Golf Club is reluctant to invest the big bucks because it never knows its fate the following year. This cycle of neglect must be stopped.

Meadowbrook needs a new perennial vision of recreation, sport and health promotion. The golf course should remain, but much more can be done over the four seasons. Cross-country skiing, skating, fitness, theatre, bike paths and nature trails can all be worked into the fabric of Meadowbrook. Place for social activities and gatherings can be found, and weddings could be celebrated on a refreshing green space. A train station could be built, and the STM could stop there, too. The sky’s the limit for Meadowbrook, as long as government decides real estate will never be built. Let’s get Montreal and Quebec to make this commitment so that a great future can begin.

Norman Sabin

N.D.G.

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Letter+Keep+Meadowbrook+recreation/8320576/story.html#ixzz2SEW7gdCM

In my opinion:

An excellent letter by Norm Sabin.  He presents a cogent and practical solution that benefits more than just golfers. The important element is to have the certainty that Meadowbrook will indeed be preserved as green space, as we have done on the Cote Saint-Luc side by zoning it golf course, long ago.

Opinion: Changes proposed by Bill 14 risk serious rights violations

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By Pearl Eliadis, Special to The Gazette April 18, 2013

MONTREAL – Last Friday, the Quebec Bar Association testified at legislative hearings in Quebec City on Bill 14, which proposes to amend several laws, including the French Language Charter, and impose new restrictions on (mainly) anglophone rights.

When I first wrote about Bill 14 last fall (Opinion, Dec. 11, “Bill 14 chips away at English minority rights”), I highlighted the bill’s proposed change in definition of “ethnic minorities” to the nebulous “cultural communities.” Other writers have discussed this as well. The proposed new term, in my view, is worrisome because it serves as prologue to a litany of substantive rights violations in the bill.

The Bar found more than a dozen of these, in a number of areas. Among them:

Jobs: Let’s say your employer hired you because she needs well-educated employees who speak two or more languages. After all, you work in the Montreal area, so you probably serve clients of different linguistic backgrounds. Under Bill 14, your employer would be obliged to “subsequently review such needs periodically” to justify not only your job, but also the job of every other employee whose skills in a language other than French were seen as an asset when they were hired. It does not matter how big or small the company is. If requiring a language other than French cannot be justified to the satisfaction of the language bureaucrats, your job or your promotion would be jeopardized. This applies even if you are fluent in French.

Public services: Bill 14 proposes to require communication with the provincial government in French, in order to obtain a licence, authorization, assistance, indemnity or any other benefit. Applications, then, would have to be made in French. All supporting documents would have to be in French, too. Otherwise, the government would insist on translating it, at your expense. This provision would create a disadvantage mainly for English speakers. If Bill 14 is passed, forget about English versions of driver’s licence forms, income-tax forms and other tax-related information, not to mention English versions of government websites, which are already inadequate. Then there is Bill 14’s proposed new passive right for government officials to be addressed solely in French. The corollary is that public servants would be entitled to refuse to even acknowledge anything said to them in English.

Health and social services: Under Bill 14, workers in health and social services would be able to demand full translation of files into French. Translation costs would be borne by the English-language health-care system. But what if there were a real emergency, and your file had to be transferred from the English-speaking system to a specialist in the French-speaking system? The English version of Bill 14 says that the person authorized to receive your documents may require “a quick rundown of their content” in French — and this, in addition to the full translation of the file. The French version of the bill can be interpreted as saying only a “quick rundown” would be required. The translation contradictions are not helpful. To be sure, there are perfectly valid reasons for wanting unilingual workers to understand what they are reading. However, Bill 14’s proposals would impose financial burdens on an already-beleaguered health system. (I am betting there was no consultation with the English system on this point).

Your child’s schooling: Let’s say you move. Or you want to transfer your child to another English school, for whatever reason. Education officials under Bill 14 would, in these cases, be entitled to disregard your child’s years of schooling to date if this schooling in English were obtained through “trickery,” deception or a “temporary artificial situation.” These terms are all undefined, and interpretation would be left to the discretion of bureaucrats.

These are but a few examples of what awaits us if Bill 14 is passed. The bill promises years of litigation and legal instability.

Who will pay? For starters, the taxpayer.

The Quebec Bar Association’s brief, which highlights the legally problematic aspects of Bill 14, should be reassuring to anyone who believes that the rule of law should prevail regardless of one’s mother tongue or home language.

Protecting French is a legitimate political objective. But Bill 14 goes too far, and risks becoming a launch pad for multiple legal challenges that will further damage Quebec’s reputation.

Pearl Eliadis is a Montreal human-rights lawyer. She was part of the legal advisory team for the African Canadian Legal Clinic of Toronto, an intervenor in the Whatcott case. She teaches civil liberties at McGill University.

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

Globe and Mail letters: Linguistic purity

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Globe and Mail, Letters, Jan. 18, 2013.  Click to enlarge.

Globe and Mail, Letters, Jan. 18, 2013. Click to enlarge.

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The best snow removal

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Free Press Jan. 16, 2013. Click to enlarge.

Free Press Jan. 16, 2013. Click to enlarge.

Le Devoir opinion piece by Mayor Housefather: Un statut bilingue légitime et essentiel

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Libre opinion – Un statut bilingue légitime et essentiel

24 décembre 2012 | Anthony Housefather – Maire, Ville de Côte-Saint-Luc
À la suite de l’article publié dans Le Devoir intitulé « La moitié des villes bilingues ne remplissent plus les critères », précisons que la Charte de la langue française originale ne se basait pas sur le critère actuel pour déterminer si une municipalité obtenait le statut de ville bilingue. Depuis plus de 25 ans, le critère utilisé pour déterminer l’octroi de ce statut était si la majorité des résidants de la municipalité parlaient une autre langue que le français. Il n’était nullement précisé que ce statut était basé sur la langue maternelle.

Aujourd’hui, à Côte-Saint-Luc, plus de 82 % de nos résidants ont une autre langue maternelle que le français et seulement 15,1 % des résidants parlent uniquement français à la maison. Il n’y a aucun doute que nous remplissons largement les critères qui à l’origine conféraient le statut de ville bilingue.
Dans le contexte de la législation sur les fusions forcées en 2000, le gouvernement péquiste d’alors a adopté la loi 171 et changé la critère, soit 50 % des résidants de langue maternelle anglaise, ce qui est la définition la plus étroite possible de communauté de langue anglaise. Une statistique bien plus appropriée pour déterminer qui est anglophone est la première langue officielle parlée ou la langue parlée le plus souvent à la maison. Cependant, puisque le statut bilingue était un droit acquis et pouvait être révoqué uniquement à la demande de la municipalité elle-même, il n’y a pas eu de problème avant l’arrivée du projet de loi 14, qui permettrait au gouvernement provincial et à ses organismes de contester ou de révoquer notre statut.

 

Unique au monde
Contrairement à ce qu’affirme dans votre article Jacques Beauchemin, sous-ministre à la Politique linguistique au ministère de l’Immigration et des Communautés culturelles, soit que le statut de ville bilingue est une « anomalie », ce qui est anormal, c’est que les municipalités ne peuvent pas décider d’elles-mêmes la langue dans laquelle elles veulent servir leurs résidants. À ma connaissance, le Québec est le seul État dans le monde occidental qui interdit aux municipalités de fonctionner dans les langues de leur choix. Certains pays, États et provinces exigent des municipalités qu’elles servent les minorités linguistiques dans leur langue lorsque cette tranche de la population atteint un certain seuil (bien inférieur à 50 %). Cependant, le Québec est le seul endroit où le gouvernement interdit aux municipalités d’utiliser la langue de la minorité, à moins que la minorité ne forme la majorité définie selon le critère le plus étroit possible.
En plus d’alléguer de façon incorrecte que les municipalités ne satisfaisaient pas au critère d’origine, l’article donne des chiffres incorrects pour la langue maternelle des municipalités et qui sont largement plus bas que ceux publiés par le recensement 2011 de Statistique Canada. En ce qui concerne Côte-Saint-Luc, l’article indique que seulement 40 % de nos résidants sont de langue anglaise, ce qui est faux. En effet, selon le recensement de 2011, 45,4 % de nos résidants indiquent l’anglais comme langue maternelle (soit comme choix unique, soit comme réponse multiple). De plus, ce chiffre n’inclut pas les personnes vivant dans les huit maisons de retraite ou les deux hôpitaux sur le territoire de notre ville (si tel était le cas, ce pourcentage serait bien plus haut). Par ailleurs, environ 63 % de la population a déclaré qu’elle parle anglais à la maison (4 fois plus que le français) et plus de 70 % a déclaré que l’anglais était la première langue officielle parlée.
C’est pourquoi il est faux de dire que la communauté d’expression anglaise est une minorité dans notre municipalité. Avoir une situation qui permet au gouvernement actuel d’exiger que notre municipalité cesse de communiquer avec ses résidants, d’adopter des règlements et d’afficher en anglais et en français est complètement absurde. Par tous les moyens possibles, nous continuerons de nous opposer à cette législation et tout Québécois épris de justice et du principe d’équité devrait faire de même.

 

Where is CSL EMS?

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Letter to the Editor (Response), The Suburban, September 21, 2011

CSL EMS is here

In response to the letter from Concerned Sports Enthusiast (Sept. 14, 2011, see below) Cote Saint-Luc EMS is here when lives are on the line and seconds count. For over 30 years, the volunteer EMS first responders have put their heart and soul into helping the sick and injured. But EMS does not respond to every medical call in Côte Saint-Luc and here is why:

When someone calls 9-1-1 for a medical incident, the call is answered by an Emergency Medical Responder at Urgences-santé, who gathers as much information as possible, such as the level of consciousness, and assigns a code and a priority. In the other cities on the island of Montreal, the Fire Department responds to high priority calls. In Côte Saint-Luc, EMS responds to both high and medium priority calls.

Calls that are determined to not be life-threatening, such as sprains and strains are classified as low priority, where the ambulance response time can be up to 3 hours. EMS does not respond to these calls. Not because we don’t want to help those in need, but because if the first responders go to a low priority call, they are no longer available to respond to a high priority call. This puts patients who really need the service at risk of receiving no first responder care. It is these high priority calls where the first responder can make a real difference, with their advanced training and equipment. For example, the incident at the baseball diamond was assessed to be a low priority call and as such, EMS was not dispatched to this call.

As for the missing AED in the arena, it was removed earlier the same day to fix a malfunction. Although it would not have been used in this case, the City has since revised its procedures to ensure that broken AEDs are replaced with a spare unit while they are being repaired. The arena’s AED was repaired and replaced the next day.

In 2010, the CSL EMS volunteers responded to over 3,000 medical emergency calls, as well as being on hand at community events, fires, disasters and more. The 80+ highly skilled and dedicated volunteers take great pride in their service and thanks to outstanding community support, CSL EMS is not only here to respond to medical calls today, but for many years to come.

Glenn J. Nashen

City Councillor – Public Safety

City of Côte Saint-Luc

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Jordy Reichson

Director of Public Safety

City of Côte Saint-Luc

The Suburban, Letters to the editor, September 14, 2011

***

Letter to the Editor, Suburban, Sept. 14, 2011

Where is CSL EMS?

Dear CSL EMS,

Where are you? Why don’t you respond?

We see you driving around CSL, we see you parked behind buildings or at the sports fields, but twice in the last two weeks an ambulance needed to be called and you were nowhere to be found.

The first incident was about a week ago at the softball field. A batter in his late 30’s pulled his groin terribly running to first base. He could not even stand to get off the field. After being assisted to the bench he passed out. We were very concerned and called 911. It took the ambulance about 25 minutes to respond – which I guess was ok because the patient had come to by the time we were on the phone with 911…but where was EMS…how far away could they have been?

Then last night after hockey at 11:30 pm one of the players (age 69) had severe chest pains, was lying on the floor in the dressing room and also was looking like he would pass out or was having a heart attack. The ambulance took about 15-20 minutes but where were the first responders everyone is always so proud of? I hope they were busy responding somewhere else. But someone should look into these incidents before something tragic happens.

By the way – the defibrilator in the arena also seemed to be missing.

Concerned Sports Enthusiast

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Letters: In defence of Nashen

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2011-08-17 In defence of Nashen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letters to the Editor: Glenn Nashen’s prioritizing of traffic complaints

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Letters to the Editor: Glenn Nashen’s prioritizing of traffic complaints

The Suburban

August 10, 2011

 

Councillor Nashen is right that CSL has many streets and taxes are an issue. He’s also probably right that not every case is a life and death one. But safety for all Côte St. Lucers in all neighbourhoods should be his priority and he should be more incensed at the danger on our streets than at our “alarmist” reactions.

Is it alarmist to think we deserve safe streets?

Is it alarmist to compare our roads to neighbouring boroughs or towns replete with bollards, bumps, signs, planters and other measures?

Is it alarmist to want the same safe streets new buyers are anticipating in the new Cavendish development?

Is it alarmist to say not all Côte St. Luc streets are family-friendly? Should we have consulted the engineering department before we closed on our home?

Statistics show numbers, but they don’t show me yanking my kids from the curb because of: endless parades of commuters speeding up to make the light; pizza delivery guys playing F1; hundreds who discover my street is a shortcut to another neighbourhood; morning commuters racing past each other; the disregard for the corner stop sign – a corner made more dangerous by encroaching bushes and low light (apparently a nearby light destroyed during the ice storm was never replaced).

Hampstead had it right, blocking off some streets. They rightly care more about their residents than their neighbour’s commutes.

For crying out loud, we slapped up an Aquatic Centre in just a few months, surely we can get a speed bump, shorten lights, brighten a corner and enforce a stop. It’s a no-brainer.

I suggest nightly driving tours through other areas of Côte St. Luc – commuter flash mobs – respecting speed limits – but traveling on other small streets ad nauseum until we see how alarmist those residents get. One hundred and forty-six streets… Wow. Any suggestions where we should start?

Pina Trengia

District 3

Côte St. Luc

Helmet legislation is long overdue

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Letters to the editor, Montreal Gazette (Published July 18, 2010)

Velo-Quebec is on the right path promoting a healthy, active lifestyle through cycling for leisure, for work, for life. Sure, we need to work on motorists’ attitudes in sharing the road, designing bike-friendly streets and lowering speed limits. These are good long-term strategies for a healthy and cycling-friendly society.

However, it is counter-intuitive for Velo-Quebec to oppose mandatory helmet laws because bicycle accidents occur every day and those who do not wear helmets are far likelier to sustain serious head injuries than those who do. In fact, serious head trauma and brain injury is reduced by 80% by wearing a helmet.

Helmet legislation across Quebec is long overdue.

Glenn J. Nashen
City Councillor responsible for Public Safety
Cote Saint-Luc

Einstein Ave to get traffic calming devices / Aux résidants de l’Avenue Einstein

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Letter to Einstein Avenue Residents:

Since taking office in 2006, the Côte Saint-Luc city council has tested new methods to help reduce the speed of vehicles on our city streets and improving pedestrian safety. This has included street level crosswalk signs, bollards and speed cushions.

Following discussions with several residents on your street concerned with speeding cars and the safety of their children, our city engineers conducted a traffic study in your area and determined that Einstein Ave would benefit from traffic calming measures. Therefore, we will soon install new speed cushions (several small speed humps installed across the width of the road with spaces between them) and bollards (a short vertical post) on your street.

The traffic calming items will be installed near the homes at 5789, 5790, 5785 and 5786, but will not reduce the number of parking spots on the street.

If you have any technical questions about the traffic calming measures, you can contact either of us or speak directly to our traffic engineer, Charles Senekal (csenekal@cotesaintluc.org, 514-485-6800 ext. 1501).

We are happy to be responding to the needs of residents on your street with innovative traffic-calming methods and communicating with you to explain why we are making this change.

Best regards,

Anthony Housefather                      Glenn J. Nashen

Mayor                                                      Councillor (District 6)

ahousefather@cotesaintluc.org          gjnashen@cotesaintluc.org

In my opinion:  The new installation is actually a speed cushion, not quite a bump. It is made of rubber and will be removed at the end of the season. It is not meant to be a year round installation nor will it be permanent. It is meant as a temporary means of traffic calming.

The traffic engineers conducted speed testing on Einstein and verified that the speeding was problematic. They received requests for traffic calming by residents and it was studied by the Traffic Committee.

We have followed up with police patrols and the speed limit will soon be reduced to 40km/h as well.

Personally, I am opposed to humps and bumps as I find them to be an annoyance, a danger to unsuspecting cyclists and they slow down emergency vehicles and are most unpleasant for the patient on a stretcher (or worse yet, backboard even though they’re not used much anymore) in an ambulance.

The cushions are not from sidewalk to sidewalk and therefore safer for cyclists. They are just wide enough as to allow a fire truck to pass without going over the bump but not a passenger vehicle. The rubber absorbs the impact of the vehicle and isn’t nearly as noisy as bumps nor are the vibrations as severe.

I should note that I am not aware of any accidents having occurred on Einstein in the last several years.

The main problem with Einstein is that it was designed wider than an average side street and therefore the distance between stop signs, the width, the fact that the park and arena is at the end all contribute to speeding.

I think between this temporary measure, lowering of the speed limit and a few more tickets and the situation should be greatly improved to the satisfaction of local residents.

***

Chers résidantes, chers résidants de l’Avenue Einstein:

Depuis son entrée en fonction en 2006, le conseil municipal de Côte Saint-Luc a mis à l’essai de nouvelles méthodes afin de réduire la vitesse des véhicules dans nos rues et d’accroître la sécurité des piétons. Les essais ont porté notamment sur des panneaux placés dans la rue aux traverses de piétons, des bornes de protection et des coussins surélevés.

À la suite de discussions avec plusieurs résidants de votre rue qui se disent préoccupés de la vitesse excessive et craignent pour la sécurité de leurs enfants, nos ingénieurs municipaux ont effectué une étude de circulation dans votre secteur, et ils ont déterminé que des mesures d’apaisement de la circulation seraient utiles sur l’avenue Einstein. Par conséquent, nous installerons bientôt sur votre rue des coussins surélevés (séries de petits dos d’âne espacés les uns des autres posés transversalement sur la chaussée) et des bornes de protection (petits poteaux verticaux).

Ces éléments destinés à ralentir la circulation seront installés près des maisons portant les adresses 5789, 5790, 5785 et 5786, ce qui ne réduira pas le nombre de places de stationnement sur la rue.

Si vous avez des questions de nature technique concernant les mesures d’apaisement de la circulation, vous pouvez contacter un de nous deux à notre adresse ci-dessous ou parler directement à notre ingénieur de la circulation, Charles Senekal : csenekal@cotesaintluc.org, ou 514-485-6800 poste 1501.

Nous sommes heureux de répondre aux besoins des résidants de votre rue avec des solutions novatrices d’apaisement de la circulation et de communiquer avec vous pour préciser les raisons de ces changements.

Cordialement,

Anthony Housefather                      Glenn J. Nashen

Maire                                                             Conseiller (District 6)

ahousefather@cotesaintluc.org     gjnashen@cotesaintluc.org

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